While we’re seeing more and more brides venture off the beaten path of “traditional” weddings, we can’t help but wonder how certain customs came to be. Specifically, why do brides wear white? Why are so many quick to turn up their noses at yellow or black or floral ones?
First thing’s first: Why the month of June? There are several variations of how June became the most traditional month to be a bride. If you go way back, some cultures believed that if a woman got married in June, she would likely give birth to her first kiddo in early spring, which would mean she’d “recover” before the next harvest.
Some sources cite the tradition of June weddings back to Romans. “June” is named after the Roman goddess Juno (equivalent to the Greek goddess Hera), who was strongly connected to feminine vitality, fertility, love, and marriage.
Others say the tradition of June weddings has to do with bathing. You read that right: bathing. Throughout the Middle Ages in Europe, June was a month that bathing occurred (for some, it was their yearly bath), so it made sense to get a wedding in while they were fresh and clean. Brides also carried very fragrant bouquets of herbs and florals to mask any, uh, aroma.
In Western societies, a white dress is symbolic of purity, so for this reason, many brides choose white. But while it may seem like a centuries-old custom, white dresses aren’t as “traditional” as many people think. For centuries, brides wore just about every color of wedding dress for various reasons, including wanting to wear the dress again.
White wedding dresses mostly became popular after Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in 1840. Royal weddings have always received a ton of attention, and this one was no different. So when Victoria opted to wear white for her wedding, everyone took notice. (Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?) While the trend began with the wealthiest women, it became the bridal style of choice by the 20th century.
While we love the white wedding dress, we are also all for brides who wear wedding dresses they can wear again and again – in whatever color, pattern, or print they desire! Just for fun, here are a few of our favorite nontraditional (yet, at the same time, totally traditional) wedding dresses.
Monsoon Artisan Lilah Floral Embellished Dress ($186, shop here)
The Avelina: Black Tulle and Lace Wedding Gown ($499, shop here)
David’s Bridal Pleated Bodice Spaghetti-Strap Satin Tulip Dress ($99.95, shop here)
Sources: Bromberg’s / Britannica